Wednesday 29 January 2020

Leah Bracknell reveals cancer drug has stopped working

The actress was diagnosed with the illness last year.

Leah Bracknell in Emmerdale (PA)
Leah Bracknell in Emmerdale (PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association

Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell has revealed her cancer treatment has stopped working.

The actress, 53, who played Zoe Tate in the ITV soap for 16 years until 2005, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer last September.

Writing on the star’s appeal page on donations website, Bracknell’s partner Jez Hughes said it appears the drug she was using started to fail several months ago, but Bracknell’s aim is still “long-term remission”.

He said: “We have found out the drug she was on definitely isn’t working, so she has been off this for a while, while we find out about the next available steps.

“In fact we now think the drug probably stopped working back in March or even before, so for the last five months or so, she has been prospering solely on the ‘alternative’ treatments we have set in place.

“This is due to the incredible support we have had, as these treatments and private consultations aren’t cheap, so we are so very grateful for the opportunity to keep Leah strong and well in this way as we really believe it is working.”

Leah Bracknell pictured in 2001 (PA)

Hughes said that without the support, they do not believe the actress would be doing so well now.

He said: “One thing Leah swears by is the infrared sauna we were able to purchase that she is in very regularly.

“Other treatments that are having a very positive effect are various plant-based healing oils, which we credit for a lot of how well she remains.

“Also, a healthy diet and a positive attitude have been very helpful, and support from a great NHS oncologist’s team in London.”

After Bracknell was diagnosed, fans helped her raise more than £50,000 to undergo groundbreaking treatment in Germany.

Hughes said the plan is still to go to the Hallwang clinic for the treatment, as the couple originally planned.

Emily Symons, Leah Bracknell and Sammy Winward in 2002 (Myung Jung Kim/PA)

He said: “We have continued to be in contact with the Hallwang, discussing the best timing for going over there.

“This will now be likely happening sooner rather than later, as there are some options presenting themselves which could mean a combination of some immunotherapy done over here enhanced by the treatments in Germany.

“This would be much more sustainable long-term, as the immunotherapy drugs are very, very expensive.

“All the time we are learning more about all the different treatment options and their availabilities. Due to the newness of the immunotherapy treatments, the rules around them and how they become available are changing all the time.

“Yet, they continue to show the greatest promise of long-term remission, which is what we are still very much aiming for.”

PA Media

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